Government asked to stop seabed quarrying and adopt precautionary principle
ATM Statement | March 23, 2023
Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) called on government today to stop seabed quarrying projects and adopt a precautionary principle on seabed quarrying and offshore mining similar to the call for a “precautionary pause” or ban on mining in the high seas by several countries, including Germany, Costa Rica, France, Spain, Chile, New Zealand and many Pacific nations.
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator said, “There should be a halt in seabed quarrying projects considering government has still to undertake economic valuation or natural capital accounting of our marine ecosystems. Without knowing the value of our marine life, there is no way to determine the tradeoffs that come with destructive seabed quarrying and offshore mining.”
“The Philippines has more sea water than land, hence we have many coastal communities that are dependent on the seas for their livelihood and daily life. These are the communities that will be negatively affected if seabed quarrying were to continue,” Garganera added.
“Also, in case of damage to the communities, there is no existing law or policy that enables communities to seek reparations from companies, as exemplified by the recent oil spill in Oriental Mindoro,” he said.
Garganera concluded that absent any cost-benefit analysis on seabed quarrying and offshore mining, government must continue to impose a moratorium on new applications. He also said that government needs to investigate ongoing seabed quarrying projects that have reported violations and immediately stop the operations of these projects.
There have been reports in Cavite that a large number of vessels had entered fishing grounds, dredging the seafloor and leaving behind wrecked marine ecosystems. Dredgers were also reported to have run over the nets of fisherfolks